I have been sitting back for some time now, watching and listening to people’s opinions of Facebook. They are wide and varied, but lately, I have been hearing some grumbling. I have heard it from friends and I even heard it on the radio this morning. That’s what prompted me to write today.
For those of you who don’t know what Facebook is, it’s a social networking tool intended to connect you with anyone and everyone from your past, present and future. It’s pretty powerful and pretty awful at the same time.
I am going to give you my experience with this website and let you draw your own conclusions.
A few months ago, I opened a Facebook account. I did this with the intention of placing my blog link on the “Info” page, to drive visitors. You know me, I am always trying to hook new readers. At the time, I had been reading so many articles online about the value of marketing your website, business or service on these social networking websites. I really didn’t think it was a bad idea. Now, being a few months later, I am seeing the value of it, but the good comes with the bad.
A few weeks after opening the account, I began getting friend requests. The friend requests were from people that I completely forgot about in my life. They were from all sorts of nooks and crannies…you know, like from that classmate who moved out of town during nursery school. It was remarkable. I started making friends. As time went on, and I made more and more friends, I started reading these little messages that my new friends would type in their profile. It went something like this – “John Doe’s is rubbing his foot” and “Jane Sue smells something weird in her apartment.” It was cute in the beginning, but then as time went on, I started feeling a little strange about reading things from people who I really didn’t know. I began to realize that I might be going down the wrong path by knowing too much about the guy who moved away when I was three years old. First, it was getting annoying and second, it was a little creepy.
I decided to take action. I logged into my Facebook account one night and decided to delete about 25 of my “friends.” I got rid of the people who I didn’t care for all that much, or never actually talked to in the first place. It was like a weight had been lifted off my chest. My life went on.
A few days later I started complaining to a good friend that I was beginning to feel uneasy about the whole Facebook experience. I knew that I was merely trying to market my websites and that I needed to “network” and gain “friends,” but the little voice in the back of my head started telling me that this whole experience was more difficult on the mind than it was worth.
Let me give you some background about my personality – I like to maintain a low profile. You might think that’s amusing because I write so much on this blog. You might ask, “Jay, if you like to keep a low profile, why do you put yourself out there so much?” I would answer, “Because I like you guys. I also get to choose what goes on here and there isn’t much that I don’t have control over.” Also, if there is someone reading this blog that I’m not necessarily fond of, I don’t know it. If I don’t know it, I don’t care about it.” You see, with Facebook, everyone is right in my face and I don’t like that.
I am fairly satisfied with where I have come in life. I’ll admit that when I re-connect with people who I sat next to in my elementary school lunchroom, it brings me back to the not-so-comfortable days of my existence. I’m sure we’ve all had them. It’s when the white milk cost five cents and the chocolate cost six. Those days were strange and hard to remember, but one thing is for sure, I don’t really want to relive them. One of the things Facebook is really good at is offering you the chance to relive your whole past. Since much of our experiences have to do with old friends and acquaintances, Facebook puts your past front and center.
If there is one thing I like about where I am now is that I put myself here. If I wanted to be back where I used to be, I would put myself there. Since I haven’t, I think I am saying something. I don’t want to relive my past. I would actually like to move on from it and never look back. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood and met many fantastic people along the way, but I think there comes a time in life to move on from those relationships to form new ones. It’s called being mentally healthy. Maybe we should call it the “shedding of time.” It’s been going on for thousands of years and for it to stop now is wrong, in my opinion.
If you are a member of Facebook, you might have had some of the same thoughts. They might not be as prevalent as mine, because I am quite sensitive about these types of things, but they may have popped up from time to time. Admit it…you have winced at the computer screen at least once while seeing someone’s name pop up asking you to be their friend. You may have been tempted to write back telling them that, “No, you don’t wish to become their friend because you were actually hoping to never hear from them again. But thank you for the offer.”
For the past few weeks, I have been threatening to delete my Facebook account. I think it might be time for that to become reality. By dumping this reminder of my entire history, I can move on the way I had been for so many years. I mean seriously, if I wanted to be reminded of my life while growing up, I would go put an offer on the house I grew up in, buy it, put down some shaggy green carpet in my old bedroom and live like I had for 22 years. I think you’ll agree, that’s just not cool.